Patience is a Virtue that Produces Perfection
A couple of months ago, an older couple which my husband had known for many years was taken from their home leaving behind a man made fish pond with several fish still within with it. Neighbors, missing the couple and not wanting to see the fish die away, threw in dog food and other things they thought the fish would eat. Over the weeks, the fish began to disappear, probably from the attack of other predators because they were no longer under the protection of their owner. Finally, most of the water evaporated away, and only three of the smaller fish survived because they lived in the deep crevices of the pond that still held puddles of icy cold water. Not wanting to see them die, we decided to take these fish and put them in our own fish tank that we have in our home.
Little knowledgeable about the fish habitat, we placed the three fish into our tank hoping that they would get along well in the tank. To our surprise, within seconds the poor fish began erratically darting around the tank, evidently in distress. Quickly, we removed two of them and placed them back into the bucket of pond water and they settled back down again. The larger of the pond fish seemed to adjust quickly and lay against the bottom, not showing any distress, we left it in the tank a bit longer. Eventually it started to act as if it was in distress; we took it out.
Unsure what to do, my husband and I discussed what we should do with them. We could take them back to the pond to die, or try to find another pond; we knew of no other ponds where they would be safe. We never wanted to let them die, so for two days we adjusted the pond water in the bucket, slowly adding fish tank water into the bucket with the fish, and feeding them pond fish food. The first morning we awoke, the bigger of the fish had died over night; the one we left in the water the longest. The fish pellets still floated across the top of the water, but the two survivors seemed to be comfortable in the bucket of water. The next day and night we continued adding fish tank water to the pail, increasing its temperature, and giving them new pellets, after cleaning out the wet soggy ones.
The morning of the third day, the two survivors seemed to swim livelier in the bucket although they still had not eaten. That afternoon, we decided to add the fish again to the tank; one by one, we added them. They were in no distress, but sat huddled together in the rear of the tank. Over the days, slowly the two of them started exploring the tank but still did not eat. Within a couple of days, they learned their new environment and learned to eat again with the other fish. Now Sparkle and Shine, my name for them, live along with the other goldfish in the tank happily, one even having its own on click with some of the smaller goldfish hanging around it.
I tell you this, because I realize just how perfect God is in our lives; he is not unwise as we were. We, in our own wisdom, we wanted to help the fish but caused the death of one. God is not like this, he leads us slowly to our new home. Sometimes, we hear his call and quickly we rush out to fulfill what we think he has called us to, not bothering to wait for his direction. This sometimes causes distress in our lives. However, God knows us even better than we know ourselves. He knows the path we will take even though we may swear to ourselves that we know what we will do. Even Abraham had to wait Heb 6:13- 15 says “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.15 And so, after had patiently endured, he obtained the promise..” Abraham received the promise of his son through Sarah, his wife.
As God leads me by his Holy Spirit, slowly he shows me through the steps I am to take to follow his will for my life. He understands, too much to quickly might be devastating for me, like it was for the pond fish. In our world today, so often we see people come and go. We hear them called “One hit Wonders,” or read the obituaries of young hopeful idols that passed away to quickly from their own self-destruction. Alternatively, even worse, the values they started with slowly disappear.
By considering the situation with the fish, I realized that patience and growth in God is the best tool that I can equip myself with as I march towards God’s calling for my life to find my own nice warm comfortable fish tank. God is with me always in my journey, and if I listen to him, he leads me closer to my desires day-by-day. Although I do face trials that make me want to give up, I remember God’s great love and know that he is trying to position me where I need to be in order to have success in what he is calling me towards. As I dart around in the bucket of life, I try to realize that the trials help to mold me and grow in faith in his goodness. Along the way, with faith and trust in him, while I thrash about in the bucket, he feeds me, looks over me, and provides for me; making me better each day.
No one wants to crash and burn, but we all want lasting fulfillment, whether it be in a relationship, a job, or personal satisfaction. So let us follow James 1: 4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Just as my pond fish, the process may not be immediate, but after a time the two of them found a new home.